The city of Chicago has been known by many nicknames, but it is most widely recognized as the “Windy City.”
The earliest known reference to the “Windy City” was actually to Green Bay in 1856 but in 1876 repeated efforts to label Chicago with this nickname involved Chicago’s rivalry with Cincinnati.
The term “Windy City” was popularized by New York City editor, Charles Dana, in The Sun during the bidding for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Journalists referred to the fact that Chicago residents were ‘windbags’ and ‘full of hot air’ in an effort to help Cincinnati be chosen for the Exposition.
Chicago won the Exposition in spite of the label, which did not please Dana.
But the popularity of the nickname has endured, long after the Cincinnati rivalry and the Columbian Exposition ended.
As a former Chicago resident — I was born there — I’m not sure how I feel about the nickname. Actually, I believe it’s more accurate than most Chicagoans care to admit.